Archives for posts with tag: a woman of many words

I measure a hike in miles. I think measuring my progress over time, as a person, may be easier to do in words.

I started this journey, here, in January of 2013, after my emotional wellness crashed hard at the end of 2012 (due to the combination of a traumatic breakup, a fairly (terrible) new relationship I’d gotten tangled up in, and a serious flare up of my PTSD in the aftermath of the infamous Delhi rape in December 2012). While I sought therapy, I also sought a more useful way of communicating and reflecting on my experience, and ended up here. Since that very first blog post, a rather shy introduction, I’ve written 2013 posts, in 7 years, with an average word count of about 700 words.

…I’ve written, right here, 1,317,956 words. Yep. 1.3 million (and a few more) words…

…I haven’t solved anything by doing so. I haven’t “fixed” myself, or the world, or made any noteworthy mark on society, as far as I know. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying – these are the words of one woman. One human being. One perspective. The word count will no doubt continue to grow. I manage about 187,000 words a year. I write nearly every day, even when I don’t write a blog post (I’m not even going to try to quantify all those words). I average 286 posts per year, which, while it doesn’t amount to reliably “every day”, shows some astonishing constancy. Still… I do miss an average of 79 days each year… about 6 and a half days per month, although I doubt there’s that sort of reliable monthly cadence to it. lol. It feels more as if I take a breather, now and then, for a few days, or when I’m out in the trees camping, and then shake that off and get back to it.

…I find myself wondering how many total words I’ve written, and spoken, over the course of a lifetime… a lot of words, no doubt. 🙂

I sip my coffee and smile. This morning feels good. That’s enough. 🙂

It’s morning, and the start of a new work week. I have my coffee, and I sip it contentedly contemplating the good night’s rest behind me, the work day ahead, and the reassuring joy knowing that my traveling partner will return from afar sometime today – although I won’t see him, myself, until tomorrow it feels good to know he will soon be near.

Light and flowers; I am fascinated by light as a metaphor for gnosis.

Light and flowers; I am fascinated by light as a metaphor for gnosis.

Love is not ‘forever’, generally; it is, only as long as it is, at which point it discontinues being. Some loves are brutally slaughtered by the will or disregard of participants. Some loves fade due to lack of investment or involvement. Some loves linger, maintained and managed, nurtured and valued, until all those doing that loving have passed on from the living to the dead – and a love like that may seem infinite, because all those touched by it recognize something remarkable and it lingers in their recollection. So…not quite infinite, certainly no more infinite than the yearnings that keep the desire for love ever in our attention, and at the top of so many to do lists. I am rambling on about love, although my thoughts were elsewhere, infinity-wise, until my traveling partner pinged me a cheery good morning; hearing from him, of course my thoughts are of love. 🙂

Raindrops on a rose named

Raindrops on a rose named “X-rated”.

I am sipping my coffee and thinking about life’s infinite journey; each day a new experience, each moment my own to engage, to enjoy, to savor, and I am offered a seemingly infinite series of such days, one after the after, each new… It’s not forever, though. My time is now, and will be until…yeah. Death. We are mortal. Life feels continuous. The journey itself seems strangely timeless in some moments, as though it does quite literally go on ‘forever’. Day after day. Moment upon moment. Thoughts. Emotions. Experiences. Dreams. Then, one day, I won’t wake up for another. Approximately infinite, because while my journey continues along a seemingly endless timeline of moments, at some point I, myself, am finite. I sip my coffee, still feeling quite content. Questions of ‘what then?’ don’t distress me; I am here, now. Perhaps there is something, perhaps there is nothing, in either case I am here, now, living my life and generally that’s enough. I haven’t learned all there is to know, yet. I haven’t found my way to the wisest possible perspective, yet. I haven’t mastered the practices upon which I build my contentment in life. I haven’t run out of ideas for paintings – nor exhausted the nearly endless supply of inspiration that fuels that creative work. I haven’t answered all the questions – or even figured out all the best questions to ask. I have not made an intimate sustainable connection with all the worthy beings with whom I might do so in one lifetime. I have not mastered love, Love, and loving – nor have I mastered The Art of Being. There is plenty to do, to experience, and to achieve in this one mortal lifetime – and how magical that there is no rush? Each moment its own, worthy of being savored… Each day unique, worthy of being explored… Each love, each lover, entirely individual and quite special, and worthy of being cherished – however things end. Aren’t we each many beginnings and endings, as beings?

Timeless questions; their greatest value is in the asking.

Timeless questions. Random thoughts. A series of moments.

I’m just saying. It’s a journey – the journey is the destination, and there’s more than enough time to take it moment by moment, awake, aware, alive; we reach the conclusion soon enough without hurrying. Being in this moment, now, and only this one, tends to slow the clock just a bit…or…approximately, seemingly so. I enjoy living most when I let ‘urgency’ fall by the wayside; nothing is more urgent than living my life well, and enjoying each moment I can, and learning something of value from those less enjoyable moments along the way.

When I rush, I so easily miss small things that hold great promise.

When I rush, I so easily miss small things that hold great promise.

So…this morning I sip my coffee, listening to the trickle of the aquarium, and the hushed sounds of the start of commuter traffic on a busy street somewhat near by, and watching the sky turn from night to day outside my patio door. I am unconcerned with other moments than this one, now. It’s a nice enough moment, as moments go, and somewhat uneventful. A moment on a Monday morning, worthy of being, but not in any way spectacular…letting even such a moment slip away unappreciated, unnoticed, un-lived would shorten my mortal journey in some subtle way…perhaps that’s the point I’m really getting at this morning; now is infinite. Well. Approximately infinite. 🙂

Look deeper. What matters most?

Look deeper. What matters most?

Today is a good day to be engaged in the moment, and living life beautifully. Today is a good day to move forward on my journey. Today is a good day to be reassured that however many minutes of my journey I may share with others, the journey I make is, itself, entirely my own. Today is a good day to choose, to question, and to walk on.  Today is a good day to live without waiting for the right set of circumstances.

With the return of the rain, I have a sense that autumn approaches; seasons change.

With the return of the rain, I have a sense that autumn approaches; seasons change.

I will not ever be described as ‘a woman of few words’. I use a lot of words. I don’t, myself, mind that I tend toward verbosity in both speech and text; I tend also to attract people who similarly enjoy words. My traveling partner once noted “you have a lot to say”. Maybe. I certainly say a lot. Sometimes it gets in the way of saying what I most mean to say, or need to say most urgently. I can take a while getting to the point. I seriously overuse metaphors. I sometimes don’t notice the glazed look in someone’s eyes when they are finished listening before I have finished talking. It makes asking ‘do I ever actually finish talking?’ a worthy question.

I spend a great deal of my time these days not talking. Living alone, and not being the sort to talk to myself, generally, there are often hours where there is no sound of human speech in my living space. I don’t talk to my fish (very often). I don’t talk to inanimate objects, or my Barbie dolls (yes, I said it, and it’s true; I still play with my Barbies). I am not in continuous communication with other human beings, or in regular daily communication with any but my traveling partner…and you, right here. Facebook gets a share of my attention, but it rarely feels like ‘conversation’ as much as it feels like passing notes in class. I am, oddly, not at all talkative – until you place another human being in front of me. Then… yeah. I don’t seem to even notice how continuous the flow of words are then. Eventually, I may become aware that I’ve gone on too long, but… I lack sensitivity to those cues. I am a beginner, still working around the edges of life’s curriculum, and hoping for a passing grade reflected in good quality of life, and good relationships over time. I am learning to be patient with myself – it’s slow going on some points.

I interrupt a lot. I’m working on it, however it can be slow going when I lack continuous awareness of my tendency to snag any breathing space between someone else’s use of language to continue my own. It’s rude – admittedly so, but without ill will, I assure you. My brain injury doesn’t excuse the resulting poor behavior, just puts the challenge in front of me (often) to be addressed over time. What’s so irksome for me is that I really enjoy listening to other people – they have stories to tell, a different perspective and history than my own, they are a living record of their slice of the human experience – and I love hearing about it. I want to know more…If I can only stop myself talking.

I was concerned that living alone would worsen the tendency to talk over people, to interrupt people, or to ‘talk too much’ (I define ‘talking too much’ as exceeding that point at which people no longer want to listen, or having crossed some boundary by continuing the discussion). Interestingly, that seems not to be the case in conversation at all; I’m finding it somewhat easier not to interrupt – perhaps simply losing the habit of continuous speech because I am not with people almost 24/7? On the other hand…my writing tends to be somewhat more verbose these days, exceeding 1k words in almost every post. Seems harmless…you can always set it aside and come back to it later. Or not.

I think my point this morning is that I had some expectations of myself and my behavior in the context of living alone that seemed well supported by what I understood about myself, and those expectations proved to be every bit as unreliable as any other untested expectations. I was incorrect. It seems instead that living alone is doing something positive to help me build the skills to bridge the communication gaps that have gotten in the way for so long. (I’ve wrecked some valuable relationships because someone dear to me just couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Ever.)

"Taking Another Look at Me" 11" x 14" acrylic on canvas w/mirror 2011

“Taking Another Look at Me” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/mirror 2011

Part of my commitment to myself this past Independence Day is to allow myself – to require myself – to step away from my own assumptions about who I am, and take another look at the woman in the mirror – change is, and perspective matters. What about you? When was the last time you took a look at who you are with beginner’s eyes, really accepted the changes that have molded you over time, and paused to reflect on where you are right now, with yourself, with who you are, and with what  you really want of life? When was the last time you swept away the expectations and assumptions that hold you back, and limit your decision-making freedom, or your growth?

What could be more worthy of study than communication? Even though we are each having our own experience, we are all in this together.

What could be more worthy of study than communication? Even though we are each having our own experience, we are all in this together. (detail from “Communion” )

Today it won’t take 1k words to be this woman I am, and to be open to the vast number of options, decisions, choices I am free to make. If I can let go of my assumptions about myself, if I can set aside my expectations of myself based on those assumptions… can I similarly do so in all my interactions, with each person…today? It’s a good start on changing the world. (I just need to give the world room to get a word in edgewise!)